France Recalls Its Envoy From Burkina Faso ‘For Consultations’ Following Decision to Withdraw Troops
07:36 GMT 26.01.2023 (Updated: 09:31 GMT 26.01.2023)
© AFP 2023 / MICHELE CATTANIIn this file photo taken on November 09, 2019, soldiers of the French Army stand next to an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) used to patrol the Soum region, during the Bourgou IV operation in northern Burkina Faso. - France has received a request from junta-ruled Burkina Faso to withdraw its troops from the Sahel country and will do so within a month, the fromeign ministry said January 25, 2023.
© AFP 2023 / MICHELE CATTANI
Earlier in the week, amid deteriorating relations between France and Burkina Faso, the official Burkinabe news agency said Ouagadougou had formally suspended a 2018 military cooperation agreement with Paris that allowed France's military presence in the country, and demanded that French forces withdraw from the West African country within a month.
Paris has recalled its envoy from Ouagadougou for “consultations”, the French foreign ministry said on Thursday, one day after France announced its plans to pull out its military troops from Burkina Faso.
“In the context of the latest developments in Burkina Faso, we have decided to recall our ambassador to Paris, to hold consultations on the state and prospects of our bilateral cooperation,” the French foreign ministry was cited by media as saying.
14 January 2023, 09:34 GMT
On Wednesday, the French ministry said that Paris is going to pull out its military personnel from the former French colony in February after Ouagadougou suspended a 2018 military cooperation agreement that allowed French troops to remain.
“In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the denunciation takes effect one month after receipt of the written notification,” the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday. “We will comply with the terms of this agreement by complying with this request.”
The ministry noted that Paris received the notification on January 24, which means that about 400 French troops have to be gone from the West African country as soon as February.
The development came in the wake of demonstrations taking place in Ouagadougou demanding the departure of France’s envoy to Burkina Faso, Luc Hallade, as well as French troops stationed at the Kamboinsin military base in the Burkinabe capital.
Demonstrators cited France’s involvement in the African nation’s affairs and its failure to improve security issues in the country.
France’s Withdrawal From the Sahel
France’s withdrawal from Burkina Faso comes about five months after the French government completed the pull-out of its troops from neighboring Mali, which is also situated in the Sahel region and shares Burkina Faso’s jihadist security threat.
In 2014, Paris launched an anti-terrorist mission in Mali called Operation Barkhane. Since 2014, the operation has expanded the French presence to approximately 5,500 troops in several of the former French colonies of the Sahel region, including Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, and Niger. These nations have been worst affected by the jihadist insurgency that has plagued the Sahel region since 2011.
25 November 2022, 15:05 GMT
Operation Barkhane was formally wrapped up in November 2022 after the withdrawal of French troops in August of that year in the wake of relations between Mali and France becoming strained after the 2021 coup in the West African state. The pull-out was preceded by protests against the French presence in Mali and accusations by the Malian government that Paris supported terrorist groups inside the African country by providing them with intelligence, arms and ammunition.
Later, France's Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said that the French military had proved unable to successfully participate in wide-scale operations.
Protesting France's presence in the region has recently become a regular fashion in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, where anti-French demonstrators believe that “France is not the ideal partner” to assist in their nations’ fight against terrorism.
“We are Burkina Faso, an independent country. Burkina Faso is a sovereign country,” said a participant of a recent anti-French demonstration that took place in Ouagadougou on January 20, as quoted by local media.
“We have decided we want to lead this fight - the war we are currently waging - Burkina Faso has decided to lead the fight with good partners. And we feel that France is not the ideal partner to accompany us to the final victory.”
Burkina Faso to Employ Volunteers, Raise 150 Million Euros to Fund War Against Terrorist Insurgency
10 December 2022, 16:37 GMT
According to the demonstrators, Paris’s failure to address the ongoing insecurity in the region and its involvement in the former colonies internal affairs have been reasons for rising anti-French sentiment among the public in the countries of the region.